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from Introspect in category personal

Put on your boots and march

I’ve been to a lot of protests and a lot of presidential inaugurations. I’m hoping this time their lesson will stick with me.

The day after the November election I was a bit shellshocked. I hadn’t slept much, and rolled into work even more quiet than usual. I could hardly look strangers in the face. I was ashamed and distressed, and worried about people I know, and the millions of Americans I don’t know but who are going to suffer the consequences of this epically bad result.

I slipped away from work for a little while around lunchtime and walked down the National Mall. I’ve been there hundreds of times, but it always reminds me of childhood trips to DC where I would try to make my Dad drag me to every museum in one day (along with the zoo, and maybe a civil war battlefield on the drive to or from the city). I looked at some artwork at the wonderful Hirschorn and wondered who the patrons there voted for. I nodded, subdued, to the security guards and gift-shop cashiers, thinking about how the next administration might affect their livelihoods and families.

I was down, but I didn’t feel hopeless. I was invigorated a bit by the art and the inspiring monuments; beauty and ideals will endure. And it seemed to me that Donald Trump came from so far outside of political norms that he might, in the end, be a mildly successful president. He wasn’t beholden to the Republican party and their terrible, dumb ideologies. He seems mostly to care about popularity and success, which doesn’t sound especially bad.

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from ARCHIVES - in category Harmless Untruths

Q and Not U

I’ve always been interested in the English language, and language in general, and linguistics, and the mechanics of language, and its history. So I have been known to waste major chunks of time nerding out to things like the blog Language Log and wikipedia articles about, say, the history of the alphabet . The alphabet is pretty interesting. Studying foreign languages gave me a different perspective on the Latin alphabet as used in English. I’ve never studied a non-Latin alphabet language, but I…

from ARCHIVES - in category Harmless Untruths

Blowing smoke, or, What is this burning in my eye?

This past week, the DC smoking ban went into effect. I was, and remain, opposed to it. On a personal level, I’m mostly ambivalent, maybe even slightly in favor of the ban. This past weekend was the first to see it in effect, and mostly it was pretty strange, a major topic of conversation for a generally strange weekend that also featured 74° January weather. As an on-again-off-again smoker, the ban rankles a little bit, but also seems like a great incentive to stick to the off-again side. On a p…